Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Alpaca Halter Game Pictures: as Requested!

I have gotten some requests to provide some pictures to illustrate how I clicker train alpacas to stick their noses through their halters in playing the halter game.  I had young helpers visiting on the farm so I pulled out a clicker and some treats and a camera and took some pictures.

The first picture shows how I start with the halter up on the wrist dangling.  This gets the alpaca used to just seeing the halter. 
Jujube learning the halter game.
As the alpaca gets more comfortable, I bring the halter closer to their nose so they have to put their nose through the halter to get to the treat.  The goodies are used to lure the alpaca through the halter.  It is their choice to pick whether they rather have the goodies or be afraid of the halter.  If they become too uncomfortable with the halter or not ready to stick their nose through, I move the halter pack up my wrist or arm and slowly bring it back down between clicks and bites until they get more used to it.  But, I have found most do not worry about the halter at all.
I'm holding the clicker on the cross piece of the halter. 
Once the alpaca is putting their nose through the halter being lured by the food.  I will start using the verbal cue, "halter."  In the above picture, you can see where I hold the clicker and halter.  That hand holds both so the other hand can hold the treats to lure the alpaca through.  This way of holding clicker and halter also allows me to place my body parallel to the alpaca so they begin sticking their noses through the halter without luring and I'm in the correct position to eventually place my hand on their neck and hold them to buckle the halter on.  I don't buckle it for quite a number of training sessions.  I simply play the halter game to get them very comfortable with putting this foreign thing on their noses and have it be fun.

It often only takes one clicker session to get the alpacas to learn to stick their noses through the halter without luring even!  They really like this game and I enjoy playing it with weanlings especially.  This I often do in a group and it is funny as two or more try sticking their noses through at the same time!

Thanks for requesting more information on clicker training and please let me know if more topics are wanted or for me to expand on already covered topics.


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